Moving tribute to fallen poet Hedd Wyn

Image caption Yr Ysgwrn, Hedd Wyn's family home in the foothills of Snowdonia

Tribute to a fallen war poet

Hedd Wyn, one of the most iconic figures in Welsh literature, was killed on the Western Front on 31 July 1917. This poignant 360° video marks the centenary of his death.


The film brings together some of the very latest film-making technology to create a touching tribute to the tragic events which first entered Welsh folklore one hundred years ago.

This immersive experience uses binaural sound and creative 360° footage to transport the viewer to 'Yr Ysgwrn', the humble hill farm in Snowdonia, where Hedd Wyn grew up. And by putting the audience directly into the setting, it helps give a better understanding of the poet's life and work.

The lowly mountain landscape remains largely unchanged and the pervading sense of peace lies in stark contrast to the carnage of the battlefield.

This is the scenery that inspired Hedd Wyn, this is the world he so reluctantly left behind and this is your turn to tread in his footsteps.

The tribute to Hedd Wyn features the poem 'Englynion Coffa Hedd Wyn', written be his friend and fellow poet R Williams Parry in 1924, and more recently translated to English by American poet Louis Flint Ceci.

The words are read by actor Julian Lewis Jones and the soundtrack was specially composed by Cian Ciarán, of Super Furry Animals.

The film is designed to be viewed through a VR headset with headphones to fully immerse the viewer in the world it evokes. Tilt your phone, or on desktop drag your mouse, and turn on your sound to experience it best.

You can also view the film at the BBC Cymru Wales stand at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Anglesey from 5-12 August.

Who was Hedd Wyn?

Born in 1887, Ellis Humphrey Evans grew up on a hill farm above the village of Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd. He was a shepherd and a gifted wordsmith who penned prize winning poetry and became better known by his bardic name, Hedd Wyn.

What happened to him?

A reluctant soldier, Hedd Wyn was conscripted into the army in 1916 and in June 1917 he was sent to the Western front. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele on 31 July 1917.

Why did he become an icon?

Six weeks later, Hedd Wyn was posthumously awarded the bardic chair at the National Eisteddfod of Wales for his poem Yr Arwr (The Hero). It was announced to a grieving nation that the winning poet was absent because he had been killed in action. The empty chair was draped in black cloth and became a symbol for the thousands of other empty chairs in houses across Wales.

Image caption Tyner yw'r lleuad heno... / Tender is the moon tonight...

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